by Winnie Romeril, Red Cross Public Affairs
“The best part is helping the pet owners. Being able to care for their animals relieves their stress so much,” explains Betty Wong, who has volunteered with the Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT) since its inception in 2013. “The animals feel their owners’ stress, and we can help with that.”
Wong spends her volunteer shifts with CCADT caring for some 185 animals located in and around a building near the American Red Cross feeding headquarters. The site caring for dogs, cats, geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits, parrots and parakeets, and whatever other furry or feathered friends evacuees bring in, is at the Oakhurst Community Center in the Sierra Nevada foothills near the Creek Fire. There is a site for large animals too.
“The most unusual pets I’ve cared for over the years were chinchillas, which are very fragile, and also a bearded dragon,” recalls Wong. “We keep clean water in their cages and feed them as needed. Mostly the owners come daily to feed and exercise their pets.”
“When owners return home and see their house is okay, they are so relieved and they pass that feeling onto their pets. You can see it. I love that.”
The Red Cross and CCADT are long-time partners in disaster relief so that families can have the peace of mind that their pets are safe in times of emergency.
Pet Disaster Preparedness
In an emergency, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Your family’s disaster plans must include your furry family members too. Learn what to do to keep your beloved pets safe!